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Gas Station Goes Big With Expansion Plans

Chevron broke ground on a new facility that will include a car wash, restaurant and more.

After years of legal wrangling, the Chevron on Lee Road is being overhauled.

owner Khosrow Haghshenas broke ground this week on the $3.5 million project that will completely redo the gas station by the end of May.

The improvements include a car wash, a larger store, a picnic area and a restaurant at the gas station at the corner of Lee and Beach roads on the outskirts of Watsonville.

"After eight years, I've got the permit in my hand," Haghshenas said Wednesday as he watched a backhoe clear the land behind the existing convenience store and gas station.

The current gas station, which Haghshenas has been running since 1993, will be scuttled and replaced with a 5,580-square-foot convenience store and restaurant. Haghshenas is still shopping around for a fast food chain to open up shop inside but anticipates finding one quickly.

It's been a long haul to get to this point. Haghshenas has been back-and-forth with the county Planning Commission for nearly a decade over the remodel. The Chevron station sits just outside of Watsonville city limits, at the south on/off ramp for Highway 1, meaning county officials have jurisdiction over it.

He got the permits Dec. 22.

"That was the happiest day," Haghshenas said.

The eight-pump gas station serves travelers, beachgoers and campers heading to Sunset State Beach, farm crews and locals. Haghshenas sells banana boxes of firewood for beach bonfires, fills propane tanks and has a liquor license that allows him to offer beer and wine until midnight.

Adding a restaurant and a car wash will complete the services his customers are looking for, he said.

"Being here for 20 years, I know all the customers," Haghshenas said. "This place needs this kind of business."

Former Watsonville City Council Member Bill Neighbors, one of Haghshenas' biggest backers, was with the gas station owner Wednesday to check out the project. He said there are a lot of people excited about the remake of the gas station.

"He's had some good support from local businesses," Neighbors said.

Chevron sent a construction crew to build the new gas station—a requirement so the company's brand is maintained—but Haghshenas anticipates hiring several more employees once the new gas station is up and running. He currently employs four people but may need as many as 20.

The new station is slated to be completed May 31. Pajaro Valley Chevron will remain open during construction, though Haghshenas said they may have to close when the gas pumps are moved. That is several weeks away.

The project is being funded through a loan from , Haghshenas said.

Jennifer Squires January 12, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Dairy Queen was an option for the gas station, but Khosrow said the chain pulled out. Personally, I'm a fan of Subway when grabbing a quick meal on the road.
CoW_ReK January 12, 2012 at 08:19 PM
In and out burger!!
regina bartlett January 12, 2012 at 08:54 PM
In and Out Burger is what people want!
Juan Reyes January 13, 2012 at 04:20 AM
It's clear and simple, it should be In and Out Burger. It's right off the freeway and next to the Red Roof Inn. And not to mention it would be the closest one to all Santa Cruz county residents.
*MAN UNITED* January 13, 2012 at 04:19 PM
IN N OUT BURGER!! PLEASE NO "MC-CRAPO" or "BURGER CACA" WE ARE SICK OF THESE LOW QUALITY FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS. WE NEED TO OFFER SOMETHING ELSE TO THE COUNTY NO ONE HERE HAS! WHAT A PERFECT LOCATION THIS IS FOR THEM!!!!
Cathy P. January 13, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Being a veteran RV "Road Warrior" myself, I'd rather have a Subway than another greasy burger chain. Having said that, In & Out burger is better than the other obvious fast-food burger chains I have to admit. We've always needed a restaurant next to the Red Roof Inn, what's happening with that?
Jennifer Squires January 13, 2012 at 05:30 PM
I agree -- an In and Out Burger would be awesome. But the restaurant probably needs its own place, not the spot inside the gas station. It'd be soooo busy and too small in there! Last I heard, In and Out was debating between Watsonville and Marina.
ROSE lEWIS January 16, 2012 at 06:24 PM
I think Sonic would be a nice addition

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